It may be hard for you to believe, but a very passionate group of game players are still contesting video game records, new and old, and vying to become champion in their particular game of skill in order to be immortalized in the on-line video game record bible “Twin Galaxies” (www.twingalaxies.com). Go check it out. Maybe it’s time to limber up those fingers and go for the record. Every great wrestling match is predicated on a simple concept that holds for the ages: A ‘babyface’ (good guy’) with a seemingly overwhelming challenge vs. a ‘heel’ (bad guy), who has the cards stacked, usually unfairly, in his favor. As humans, we have an innate need to create an emotional investment in our favorite character, which in turn makes the outcome of the contest be something that we care about seeing.
That tried and true formula was captured to a T in a great documentary I recently saw called “The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters”. Instead of wrestlers though, we’re dealing with elite-level, arcade-version Donkey Kong players facing off for the world record. As well, and unlike a wrestling match, our outcome is not predetermined and this reality adds oh-so deliciously to the drama as it unfolds. Now, bring in the chief combatants in our story: social pushover Steve Wiebe, a stuck in second place, life-long loser that just can’t seem to get a break in life vs. chicken-wing sauce kingpin Billy Mitchell; he of the hypnotizing mullet and Charlie Sheen-type zeal. Here we’ve got classic good guy vs. bad guy at its finest! Watch how Wiebe finds great difficulty becoming accepted into the ranks of high level players even though his skilland scores are right up there with the best of the best. Billy Mitchell and his team of disciples manage to cheapen and disrespect Wiebe throughout, holding him back, and in turn making the viewer desperate for a little ass-kicking payback. Can Wiebe come through? The answer will surprise you. The climax is better than any made for Hollywood movie, and will keep you on the edge of your seats.
It doesn’t matter if you like video games or not, the emotional pull of this story cannot be denied, and I guarantee that you will dig it. “King of Kong” gets my five silo rating. Enjoy it on Netflix or rent it at your video store or watch it right here at The Silo. The rental has some great extras that get right to the root of some true video game nerd-dom.
by John McIntosh visit www.youtube.com/jmacsmusickitchen
Supplemental- The ending for King of Kong can be watched here: www.topdocumentaryfilms.com/king-kong-fistful-quarters